A few weeks back, Council President Verna called City Council powerless when it came to Mayor Nutter's decision to close library branches.  To refresh your memory:

"We in Council are completely powerless at this time," said Verna. "It's strictly up the Mayor. If we were to have public hearings from now until the first of January, it wouldn't do anything. Let me reiterate: We on Council are powerless at this point in time. The Mayor will do what he has to do."

Verna went on to say that City Council and the public will have their say during the budget hearings that will begin in February. She believes that additional hearings will only give the public "false hope" that library closures can be reversed and the town hall meetings provide ample opportunity for public input.

Earlier today, Judge Idee C. Fox interpreted things a little differently than the Council President:

Fox found that the library users and communities would suffer "irreparable harm" under Nutter's plan, and enjoined Nutter from closing the libraries without the council vote or a court order.

Her decision was based, as Clout points out, on section 16-203 of the Philadelphia Code, passed in the 1980s, disputed in court in 1988 and never resolved:

No City-owned capital facility shall be closed, abandoned, or allowed to go into disuse without specific approval therefore from City Council, by Ordinance.

And just a little while ago, Mayor Nutter released a statement essentially reiterating President Verna's point of view:

We emphatically disagree with today's decision by Judge Fox.
The decision flies in the face of the Home Rule Charter which is explicit in its allocation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.
It appears that the ruling excluded any consideration of the validity of the City Council ordinance on which the case was based.
This decision is larger than an opinion on these particular library facilities.
— It ignored that the Charter allows the Mayor to make operational decisions and affords him the ability to run the City.

Though the eventual outcome of this dispute is far from clear, one thing is certain: we're all going to learn a whole lot more about the Home Rule Charter by the end of this.